We thank the Lord for sustaining the team that facilitated the back-to-back Bible Museum tours last June 21, 2019 (Friday) at the PBS Ministry Center. The first set of visitors came from a group of families that all homeschool their children – collectively, they call themselves “Teleos.”
An hour later, at around 10am, we had 250 Alternative Learning System (ALS) students take their turn at the museum. We were amazed that the throng of people fit in the 3rd floor Worship Hall! Bryan Anastacio, PBS events and museum coordinator, organized the whole ALS tour to be done in six (6) batches. The size of each batch varied per ALS teacher, but the largest group Mr. Anastacio handled was about 50 students.
The ALS is a free non-formal education program of the Department of Education to help out-of-school youth and adults finish secondary education. These teenagers and young adults, mostly 18 years old and above, have stopped schooling for a number of reasons. Many come from broken homes or are financially challenged. Others have struggled with gang violence and involvement. Some have learning difficulties or live in geographically depressed areas. These reasons create more than enough challenges for our young people to overcome. The mere fact that these students have taken the bold step to finish their education - through the ALS program - is an accomplishment in itself.
Indeed, by God’s grace and goodness, nothing is impossible.
The ALS initiative is supported by the Motortrade Life and Livelihood Assistance Foundation (LALAF), one of DepEd’s partners that focuses on the spiritual and social needs of those in poverty. They provide opportunities for soul growth and nourishment via academic scholarships, family-centered activities, and livelihood programs.
Motortrade LALAF is the organization that encourages and plans the group tours for the ALS students in our Bible Museum. The Philippine Bible Society (PBS) has been providing museum tours for different batches of ALS students since 2013. We receive an average of 150-200 students for their yearly Bible Museum visit. Last year, we engaged with 207 ALS youth.
Mr. Ivan Gervacio, PBS church relations officer, gave a very brief message to the ALS youth – it was an inspirational welcome for their tour. He said, “I’m saying this as your kuya (older brother). Don't waste your life. The life of the youth is difficult. There are many temptations. Brothers and sisters, let's be mindful. Your life is precious. You only have one life."
Before letting the tours officially begin, he closed in prayer, "Lord, please let these youth experience Your love. For those who’ve been hurt, are in pain, or feel betrayed, may You be the one to heal their hearts."
The group of ALS youth literally filled the entire floor of the 3rd floor Worship Hall. Some even overflowed to the side wings near the elevator. But despite how jam-packed everyone was in the room, we were comforted by the fact that each person was engaged and interested in Mr. Gervacio’s message. His contagious enthusiasm won the attention and trust of the crowd.
Similarly, the tour group that came before the ALS youth consisted of a lively and energetic bunch of kids. This homeschooling group of families calls themselves “Teleos,” which means “complete” in Greek.
"The difference with homeschooling is that there is no pressure to perform. Kids can really learn from the material,” shared Teacher Ethel, “We are not limited by the curriculum.”
Their group firmly stands for holistic education, developing the child’s character academically and socially. They are unified by values such as humility, patience, and obedience. They also put a premium on interactive and unique learning experiences. Going on field trips is a norm for them.
“I saw the Bible Museum on Facebook. It's really hard to go on a Holy land tour so this is the closest we can get to for now. I knew that this was going to be an interactive learning experience for the kids,” said Teacher Melody, the group’s head coordinator.
For this tour group, there were six families represented in all and the kids’ ages ranged from 2 to 14 years old. They were a curious and intelligent bunch that had seemingly simple but quite profound comments on their Bible Museum experience. Both teachers gave me the go signal to interview the kids.
Here are a couple of their thoughts:
Ethan (11 yrs. old): It's very nice because you can go back and review. My favorite part is the first part with all the facts. I learned more things that I didn't know about before. For example, the size of the widow's coin!
David (11 yrs. old): It's nice to know what happened in the olden times.
Andrea (14 yrs. old): It's very interesting to know the history of translation, the tools, and methods of writing it all down. I liked learning about the process. I was never taught these things before. This is all new and fresh for me.
Keith (14 yrs. old): I loved seeing the glass displays. The [tour guide] made good points and I saw how the Bible grew and expanded in reach from one point of the world to the other. For people visiting the Bible Museum in the future, I suggest that you take notes. This is very interesting to learn about and it is a very important place to go to.
Thank You, Lord, for the lives of these young people – both the ALS youth tour groups and the Teleos homeschooling group of kids. We are excited for how God will work mightily in their lives and how He will release great blessings upon them.
We pray that more and more young people will be inspired to read God’s Word and to abide by His teachings for all the days of their lives!
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